22 October 2020
Reliance Jio is reportedly planning to launch a 5G Jio phone in India for less than Rs. 5,000 (under $70). A report from Economic Times citing a company official states that the Indian telecommunication company is making way so that millions of users of the country could grab the faster internet service. The report further claims that once the company scales up the sale, it may price the Jio 5G phones in the range between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 3,000.
The aim is similar to the pledge that Reliance Jio once took for the Indian consumers and that is to bring faster network options to connect to the internet. Back in 2016, Reliance Jio disrupted the telecommunications industry by launching some cheap 4G LTE plans for its Indian consumers and now the same is expected from it for the 5G plans as well.
The anonymous company official in the report further revealed that the company will target 20-30 crore mobile phone users who use the 2G connection at present. Although, this is not a big revelation, the company at its 43rd AGM meeting shared its plan to make India “2G-mukt” (free of 4G connections) and also emphasized on the need to accelerate the migration of 350 million Indians (currently using 2G feature phone) to an affordable option with better network.
It’s a long journey….
The biggest telco of India has ambitious 5G plans but these plans will take much time to ripe, take some tangible shapes and finally go into the hands of the users living in the lower-tier cities of India where even the 4G LTE penetration is short. So, the company will not only launch the 5G phones in the country, it will also transfer the bulk of consumers using the slow internet to the faster option as well. This could be 4G LTE and as per the company’s recent partnership with Google, we believe the latter will help the telco to achieve this goal.
India is yet to enter the 5G competition in the tech world. Manufacturers are launching their 5G-capable devices in the country but the 5G infrastructure is not fully ready and requires time to be fully-furnished. Jio and other network operators are looking for the establishment of 5G network infrastructure that could help them accelerate the 5G push in the country. The network operators in India require the 5G radio spectrum and 5G network equipment.
While there are a few 5G network equipment providers that the telcos have partnered with, the Indian government is yet to allocate the spectrum. Reportedly, Jio approached the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to assign a 5G spectrum for field trials already but they are yet to be allocated.
5G networks were once expected to be launched in India by late 2020 or early 2020 but it is now highly unlikely that this could happen before 2021. So, our best bet is 2022 and thus a Jio 5G phone could take more time to come to the market.